San Francisco Voters Approve Paid Sick Leave Changes

On June 7th, 2016, San Francisco voters approved paid sick leave changes. The approved amendments alter existing law in San Francisco and become operative January 1, 2017. The delay offers employers time to come to terms with the changes and adapt their policies accordingly.

A Few of the Changes Coming With Amendments Approved on June 7th, 2016:

The Definition of Parent: “Parent” has a wider definition that now includes a person who stands in loco parentis when an employee was a minor child and biological, foster, stepparents (or guardians) of an employee’s spouse or registered domestic partner.

Timing: Employees hired on or after January 1, 2017 accrue leave when their employment starts. They cannot use it until their 90th day of employment with the company.

Advanced Leave and Frontloading: Employers can “frontload” the amount of sick leave accrued over the year. They can offer employees a lump sum of sick leave at the beginning of the year’s employment, the calendar year, or any other designated 12-month period of their choice. Frontloading in this way is treated as an advance on leave that will be accrued throughout the year time period. According to the amendment this does not prevent the employer from advancing leave to an employee at other times at their own discretion or limit the amount of leave an employer may advance an employee. An advance of leave must be in line with the employer’s own written policy or put in writing if no written policy exists.

Wage Statements: Effective January 1, 2017, an employer required to provide written notice regarding available California paid sick leave must (on the same notice) provide the amount of available San Francisco paid sick leave or PTO (paid time off) offered in lieu of sick leave.

These are just a few of the coming changes. San Francisco employers who are worried about the changes to employment law and how it will affect their company’s policies and procedures should contact an experienced employment attorney as soon as possible in order to ensure compliance in time for the January 1, 2017 effective date. For additional information on what constitutes compliance in the workplace, please contact Blumenthal, Nordrehaug & Bhowmik.